The Date and Time: Tuesday, December 9, 2014 5PM to 8:30 PM
The Event: Taste Taiwan; a tasting of new Taiwan-inspired dishes plus the new Taste Taiwan documentary.
The Venue: NAO Steakhouse, Avenue Road
The Target Audience: media, travel operators.
The Quote/Background: Three chefs (one each from Toronto, Chicago, and Los Angeles) spent eight days exploring around Taiwan earlier in the year. This resulted in a 30-minute documentary. Toronto was represented by Chef Stuart Cameron of NAO. More than 100 of us tasted Chef Cameron's new Taiwanese dish, Crispy House Tofu. "Using ingredients found in Taiwan and then putting them together with modern techniques, this dish represents my travels in Taiwan," he said. It's made with silken tofu, beef, red bean paste, beef tendon, and stock. They've got it on the menu from January 5 through February 5 in 2015. Everybody who orders it gets a free DVD of Chew Cameron's travels in Taiwan.
The Wines: There was beer (Peroni, Asahi) and wine (Matto Pinot Grigio IGT Veneto from Stem Importers), and a red -- Castillo de Monseran Garnacha Old Vines 2012, 14.5% ABV which was remarkable value.
The Food: there were many platters of food, I tried to get to as many as I could but there was a large crowd. We started with mild skinny peppers and soy sauce, followed by the crispy tofu (excellent, by the way), fish with limes, a tuna tartare with avocado, lime wild dried rice, and served on a wasabi leaf (mild), and some beef tartare as well. I was well-prepped for Taiwan food as I had just viewed a DVD of Monika Treut's documentary The Raw and the Cooked, about her travels in Taiwan (Hakka food, dumplings, night markets everywhere, street food, roof gardens in the populated areas, indigenous tribes, and pomelo tea), and I had just returned from Devourfest where I saw the feature film Zone Pro Site: a moveable feast (story about a young Taiwanese girl who was competing in a national chef contest).
The Downside: unfortunately the noise level was high, which made it awkward to carry on conversations.
The Upside: the wine went surprisingly well, even the Garnacha which was ripe and fruity and stood up to the Asiatic dishes.
The Contact Person: www.tastetaiwan2014.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 88.